This is getting to be beyond a joke. A few weeks ago I developed a persistent rash and swelling that follows, ominously, my lymph nodes. Some other symptoms cropped up as well.
Which may very possibly be a form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. I mean, really? (And yes, this is Five Minute Friday, written ahead of time by necessity.)
But hey, I'll make it through this, too. I'm strong and flexible, and have terrific endurance.
Until, one day, I won't. But when that day comes, I'll have something even better.
Faith, hope, and love.
My physical strength will one day fail me. I work at keeping it up, and work hard, but the writing's on the wall. There are cliffs you can't climb.
And you do get used up.
But the strength of my faith need not depart. It's something you can exercise as well, and it doesn't get used up...when you build a firm foundation for it, both in study and practice, you can build the 'tower' ever-higher, secure in the knowledge that it won't collapse of some unseen weakness, or topple in a storm.
I'm pretty flexible; I can adapt to uncomfortable situations, and when life hands me a lemon I aim to whip up a lemon meringue pie. (Yes, I CAN make a fluffy meringue, though my first efforts were closer to edible frisbees...which the dogs loved.)
I am the master of the dodge-and-weave paradigm of avoiding trouble.
But sometimes you can't dodge and weave fast enough, and when trouble just comes straight through your defenses, your final act of flexibility has to be to turn to hope.
Hope is the ultimate flexibility, because it charts a path to the future, a future that, with the help of the Almighty, will be yours.
It's not the hope for riches or worldly favour; it's the hope that this life, fettered by critics and clocks and calamity, can actually be transformed into the transcendent, heaven writ before our eyes in letters far too large to see.
And I can endure a lot. I did, last night, having severe chills in a room that never got below 85 degrees. Yes, I was crying out in pain, but I made sure to keep the screams a bit muffled, because Barb had to work today.
But endurance has to have an object, a goal. You can hang on for the principle of the thing...for awhile.
You can hang on in the hope that things will get better...for a while longer.
You can hang on because you're afraid of what will happen if you give up...longer still.
But in the end, none of those reasons for endurance will outlast the need for endurance.
The only thing that will is love.
Not the romantic, clingy kind ("I can't bear to let her go, even though I die!"), nor the sloppily sentimental kind ("...they clung to each other, weeping..."). Those are kind of creepy, if you ask me. (Did you ask me?)
The kind of love that endures is the kind that has something to give, the love that is closer to the older word, 'charity'. It's the kind of love that says, "I'm still important...I'm still able...and as long as I draw breath I can help make this corner of the world a bit better."
And charity draws the other virtues into itself, in keeping the faith that there is hope for a better tomorrow, when love is mobilized.
For those of you who missed an earlier post this week...it contained a picture of Barbara with her new haircut. Rather than make you shuffle back to visit it, here's the picture of my lovely wife...
To provide a bit of balance, here's a picture of me (I'm the one on the right). It was taken several years ago, but is still a good likeness. The dog is Emily (sadly no longer with us), a deaf Heeler who knew American Sign Language, but who didn't hesitate to use her teeth when signing was too slow.
The musical selection is First Time from Lifehouse, and the colourization that takes place in the video is a pretty good fit for Barb's glasses and my shirt!
I do ask that you be patient with my slow replies to your comments (which we treasure). I'm trying to stay caught up.
Still hoping to get the new and improved version of Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart up and running in the near future. Just haven't had the energy to do it yet...but if you would like to read it, please say so in your comment and I'd be glad to send you a PDF (which should fit your Kindle).
Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.
If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.
Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.